Belfast Telegraph

Ex-boss of care home later shut down by health bosses to manage renamed facility

 

By Lisa Smyth

The former manager of Ashbrooke Care Home has been appointed to run the replacement facility.

The home was closed 18 months ago as it posed a "serious risk to life", but Runwood Homes is planning to reopen it under the name of Meadow View.

It has emerged that Heather Johnston is to be the registered manager of the renamed facility when it opens this month.

Ms Johnston was not the manager of Ashbrooke Care Home when it was shut by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) in August 2017.

However, she managed it for the previous owner before it was bought by Runwood Homes.

During this time the RQIA carried out a number of unannounced inspections to investigate reported concerns about the safety of residents.

Runwood Homes blamed failings at Ashbrooke Care Home after it bought the business on difficulties inherited from previous management.

Despite this, the company has employed Ms Johnston to oversee the running of Meadow View when it opens this month.

A number of concerns about the conditions at Ashbrooke Care Home were raised while Ms Johnston was the registered manager.

The RQIA carried out an inspection in June 2016 after it was tipped off that patients were being woken up by staff in the early hours of the morning against their wishes.

The regulator also carried out an inspection of the home in January 2016 to investigate concerns about the number of patient falls; availability of face cloths, towels and incontinence products, and limited availability of hot water.

On both occasions the inspectors did not find any significant areas of concern and care was found to be safe and compassionate.

The home was then sold to Runwood Homes and an inspection in November 2016 uncovered a range of issues.

Runwood Homes' management was summoned to attend a meeting with the RQIA who issued a 'failure to comply' notice.

Logan Logueswaran, former managing director of Runwood Homes, attended a meeting with the Western Trust on December 22, 2016 to discuss the issues.

Minutes from the meeting said: "Mr Logueswaran stated it was disappointing to be advised by the trust concerns had emerged.

"He felt staff in Ashbrooke were working hard to address all issues regarding the failure to comply notice.

"He made reference to difficulties his company inherited when they took over the running of the home, both in terms of governance issues and estates issues."

Sinn Fein MLA Colm Gildernew urged health officials to provide reassurances about the safety of any future residents of the renamed home.

It comes after the RQIA said it could not comment on the registration of Meadow View, while the Western Trust said it could not say whether any patients will be placed at the home.

Mr Gildernew said: "There is genuine concern in the public with the reopening of what used to be Ashbrooke Care Home, a facility that had been previously shut down by the RQIA for serious failures in care.

"Although the care home will be renamed Meadow View, it will remain under the same ownership - Runwood Homes - which has a record of incidents of serious breaches in care standards in the north of Ireland.

"Understandably, this has caused distress in the public.

"The RQIA need to explain to the public the process and rationale for re-registering the new care home in the event this happens.

"The Western Trust need to clarify whether any trust-commissioned services will be delivered by the home and satisfy itself and the public that safe and effective care will be provided."

Runwood Homes did not respond to requests for comment.

The company has consistently struggled to meet basic standards at a number of its homes here.

Conditions at Ashbrooke Care Home were described by the RQIA as "catastrophic" and the regulator took the unprecedented step of closing the home with immediate effect following a visit in 2017.

The company was also at the centre of a scathing report about conditions at another of its homes, Dunmurry Manor, resulting in the ongoing police investigation.

Trust officials raised concerns that conditions at Dunmurry Manor amounted to institutional abuse.

Belfast Telegraph

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